Colorado First Four Mar 20, 2024; Dayton, OH, USA; Colorado Buffaloes guard KJ Simpson (2) dribbles the ball defended by Boise State Broncos guard Roddie Anderson III (0) in the second half at UD Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NCAA Tournament got off to a hot start on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This year’s four games in the First Four totaled 6.18 million viewers on truTV, up 18% from last year’s total of 5.41 million.

Three of the four games were up on a year-over-year basis. Wagner-Howard was the one game to see a decline, averaging 1.20 million viewers on Tuesday, down 2% from last year. Colorado State-Virginia averaged 1.75 million viewers and was up 1% from last season.

Both of Wednesday’s games were significantly up. Grambling State-Montana State averaged 1.45 million viewers, up 35% from a year ago. Colorado-Boise State drew 1.78 million viewers, a 30% increase from 2023.

While this year’s First Four was up from last year, it was down from both the 2021 tournament, when two games aired on TBS instead of truTV and the round totaled a record 7.77 million viewers, and 2022 (6.89 million over the four games).

It’s a promising start for the tournament. And Thursday’s first-round action has seemingly provided the mix of upsets and power programs advancing that makes the tournament so special. While four double-digit seeds advanced, the only true blueblood bounced was Kentucky, leaving a good mix of underdogs advancing to Saturday. Last season, there were almost too many upsets early on, leading to massive viewership in the first two rounds and steep declines later in the tournament, including a record-low in the title game.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.